Conflict pervades nearly every workplace imaginable. In some offices, it’s simply annoying. In the health care industry, however, it can prove lethal. Unfortunately, such conflicts are far more common than most patients suspect. Below, we explain why these conflicts occur and how they can lead to negative health care outcomes:
How Conflicts Play Out — And Why
Conflicts between medical professionals typically involve health care workers with different job titles. For example, doctors may disagree with nurses, or nurses may butt heads with nursing assistants. These conflicts involve an inherent imbalance of power, in which one party holds far greater authority than the other. Sometimes, this imbalance can go beyond mere disagreements to become full-on bullying. Physicians, in particular, have been known to berate nurses or even demonstrate physical aggression.
In a 2013 Institute for Safe Medication Practices survey, 74 percent of respondents admitted that they’d received “condescending or demeaning comments or insults.” Additionally, 26 percent of respondents reported that doctors threw stethoscopes, surgical instruments, and other objects at them. These behaviors may be more likely in high-stress niches — particularly if health care employees are overworked.
How Patients Suffer
Workplace conflicts can prove a huge source of distraction for physicians and nurses alike. Consumed by their negative emotions, health care workers may neglect to spot symptoms or correctly administer treatments. Employees may even disagree as to which course of treatment is preferable; the ensuing inconsistency and failure to communicate could hold devastating consequences.
Conflicts between health care workers can lead to shocking displays of negligence. If you believe you suffered due to such workplace conflicts, contact Regan Zambri Long PLLC at your earliest convenience. With the right medical malpractice attorney on your side, you could recover considerable damages.